Many people do not understand the emotional stress that adoption causes. It is emotionally draining. Before starting this process I never realized how hard it was for people to walk down this path. It causes countless hours of tears, restlessness, and stress. Now that we’re in the trenches of our adoption I struggle with how “clueless” people can be about this process and the effect it has on us. Today’s blog is all about the tough questions adoptive parents get asked (although some aren’t technically “questions”). Some of these I have personally been asked, while others are ones I have heard other adoptive families share.
I also included a David Platt Sermon on orphans. It is one of my all-time favorite sermons. I would strongly encourage everyone reading this to watch the video. It is 45 minutes long and well worth it. It is a little slow to start, but about half way through the sermon it takes off. Invest the 45 minutes of your time- you won’t be disappointed!
With that said…..now onto my top ten list of annoying things adoptive parents get asked.
1. How much did your son/daughter cost?
It is usually the intent of the person asking about money that annoys me. If I reference money related to adoption, it is for one purpose- giving God glory. The reality is this adoption is costing way more than a year’s salary. There is no way we could do this without God. Not summer school checks, or performance bonuses, or donations, etc…- God gets all the Glory. Not you, not me, not grants. God.
So if I bring it up, that will be why. But you shouldn’t bring it up. This is a big one to me that I have been asked quit a few times. Chiza is not a car. Chiza is not a house. Chiza is not some meaningless possession. He is a human being. He is my son. No amount of money in the world could put a price on him.
2. Why don’t you just go and get him/her?
This question almost implies that we adoptive parents are not doing everything we can possibly do to get our child home. It’s ridiculous and offensive. If it was as simple as getting on a plane, Chiza would be home right now. So please, if you insist on making an ignorant statement such as this, educate yourself first.
3. How many real kids do you have?
So Chiza isn’t real? Or are you saying he is not really my son? Saying statements like this make it seem like you are inferring that adopted children are not really a part of a family.
4. Why didn’t you adopt here in America? We have a great need in our own country.
This is another one that drives me nuts (well they all really do). I guess James 1:27 is only talking about American children. No. Children everywhere need families. Not just in America, or Congo, but everywhere! They all need loving families, not just the estimated 400,000 in America, but the 150,000,000 + children across the world!
5. I know someone who adopted from _______, that child has so many issues…are you sure yours is healthy?
I had a co-worker say this to me before. Seriously. I restrained myself, even though I felt an urge to punch this person. So a child with HIV doesn’t deserve a loving family? So a child with fetal alcohol syndrome doesn’t deserve a loving family? A child who was abandoned and sexually molested in an orphanage doesn’t deserve a loving family?
EVERY child deserves a loving family (Platt addresses this in the video as well…watch it! David Platt Orphan Video ).
6. Where are his real parents?
I really want to respond…well….right in front of you. I am Chiza’s dad. Ashley is Chiza’s mom. First of all, it is probably better not to reference or ask questions about the “birth” parents. But if you really have a desire to do so, use “birth” not real.
Now I have no problem, personally, sharing the story of how Chiza became our son. But it is still a strange question to ask. His story is his own. As he grows older we will share with him what we know about how he became an orphan, and he can decide what he wants others to know. I heard someone else relate to it this way. Would you ask a co-worker to share details about her labor? “Please tell me, how did the labor go? Did he or she just pop out, or was it a struggle? Give me all the details.”
7. Where did you get it from?
I left the “it” there intentionally because people have used that pronoun before. Chiza is not an “it” but a he.
Also the wording of these questions are strange. It’s like you are expecting a store such as Walmart. Again, Chiza is not a product, he is a human being.
I don’t think it’s wrong to want to know where Chiza is from, or be curious about it. BUT why not try asking us to share our adoption story? If you know our story, this piece of information will come out too. This way, it doesn’t sound so impersonal, and make a child sound like a product to you.
8. Aren’t you happy you get to miss the baby stage?
Some people are baby people more than others. I personally enjoy the toddler stage way more, but some people absolutely love the baby stage. However, completely not being there for my son is not something I enjoy experiencing. I am not there to hold him, hug him, and give him endless kisses. If he gets hurt, he might be crying himself to sleep for comfort. I want to be there for him. I am his daddy and I want to make him feel safe, protected, and loved. Then there are all the developmental delays Chiza could be experiencing from lack of proper nutrition and lack of emotional stimulation to consider as well. People often say this as a joke, but a neglected baby is no joke.
9. Showing “interest” without genuine interest
This one happens to Ashley and me a lot. Someone will ask us about our adoption, but they are not really interested. Usually they listen to our response for about 15 seconds, and then act like they are interested or involved in another conversation. Adoption is a loaded topic and requires a proper response. We love talking about it, but if you do not really care to sit and listen for several minutes, please do not ask.
10. You are such good people. You are doing a great thing adopting Chiza.
This is addressed perfectly in the Platt video….if you haven’t already, watch it!
Mere altruism is not enough of a reason to adopt. Yes, Chiza needs and deserves a family. However, that is not our main reason for adopting. It’s not about us rescuing Chiza, it’s about the fact that Jesus rescued us. We are children of God. We are no longer orphans, we have a loving father, and we are a part of an everlasting family. We want to show our love and desire to help orphans because it represents what God did for us. This is a chance to show it.